Baby cheetah rejected by mother befriends puppy

A baby cheetah at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park befriends a puppy. (Courtesy ABC News)
A baby cheetah that'd been rejected by its mother has made friends with a puppy.

Six-week-old Ruuxa has been raised by San Diego zoo keepers since its mother abandoned him.

The baby cheetah was chosen to be an animal ambassador for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. To prepare for this prestigious post, Ruuxa was introduced to Raina, a 7-week-old Rhodesian ridgeback puppy.



According to the zoo's website, the cheetahs chosen to be ambassadors are paired with a domestic dog because dogs are comfortable with people, "Cheetahs are quite a bit more cautious and wary of new situations; having a dog buddy to show them that everything is okay-and even fun-helps the cat feel comfortable and relaxed. The dog's body language communicates that there's nothing to fear, which relaxes and calms the cheetah's flight tendencies. We introduce a puppy buddy when the cheetah is still a cub and naturally playful. By spending time together they get to know each other and become buddies.

According to San Diego Zoo Animal Training Manager Susie Ekard, the relationship is not just for the cameras. The cub and pup are said to be inseparable pals and will be lifelong companions.

(ABC News contributed to this report)
Related Topics:
pets animal wild animals dog dogs puppy San Diego
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